Today’s announcement of the merger of Nine and Fairfax is the biggest and most significant media deal for decades, and one of the most significant in the nation’s history. The implications for Australian public life are enormous.
Not that it is a complete surprise. Ever since last year’s change to media ownership regulations — including the removal of the ban on any entity owning print, television and radio platforms in a single market — something like this has been almost inevitable.
This deal is effectively a Nine buyout of Fairfax. Over the next few months and years, the Fairfax name will disappear. Thus ends a long and mostly honourable period in which the company has been associated with quality journalism and has stood as the main counter to Murdoch’s News Corporation.